What Next

Beijing’s Crackdown on Hong Kong Dissidents

A new law is set to silence a generation of political dissidents.


Episode Notes

When Beijing passed a new law that harshly penalized protests in Hong Kong, activists and dissident groups had to choose whether to shut down or get out. Now, 47 pro-democracy activists are facing charges and likely prison time, and a generation of dissent may be quelled.

Guest: Emily Feng, NPR’s Beijing correspondent.

If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Amicus—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on What Next. Sign up now at slate.com/whatnextplus to help support our work.

Podcast production by Elena Schwartz, Paige Osburn, Anna Phillips, and Madeline Ducharme, with help from Jared Downing and Laura Spencer.

CORRECTION (March 2, 2023): A previous version of this episode misidentified this trial as a closed trial.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

All episodes


  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.